Reviews: DC Universe Online Review Supplement

Posted on February 02, 2011

Greg Tito reviews DC Universe Online.

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Go to Source (The Escapist – EscapistMagazine.com)

Trailers: DC Universe Online: Brainiac Tutorial

Posted on January 30, 2011

Team up with DC Comic’s iconic heroes in the fight against Brainiac from the very beginning of the game.

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Go to Source (The Escapist – EscapistMagazine.com)

DC Universe Online Review

Posted on January 28, 2011

Fun combat and great looks make DC Universe Online entertaining for a while, though various limitations keep it from being a long-term destination.

Score: 7.0 / good

Get the full article at GameSpot


DC Universe Online Review” was posted by Kevin VanOrd on Tue, 25 Jan 2011 18:28:35 -0800

DC Universe Online Screens

Posted on January 20, 2011

51 new shots posted.

Get the full article at GameSpot


DC Universe Online Screens” was posted on Wed, 19 Jan 2011 18:54:01 -0800

DC Universe Online: First Impressions

Posted on January 14, 2011

MWAH-HA-HA-HA! That’s my evil laugh. Do you like it? I’ve been practising. A 14GB download, immediately followed by a 6GB content patch, gives you plenty of time to perfect things like that. I’d already decided I was going to be a villain, because villains are always more fun than the heroes, but after so much waiting around, I was definitely in the mood to smash shit up in Sony’s comicbook MMO. We’ll have a full review for you soon enough, but for now, here’s what happened in my first few hours.

‘So, turns out I used to be a real douche. Sorry about that, Superman.’

DC Universe Online is set in a timeline where Lex Luthor finally manages to beat not just Superman, but all the world’s greatest heroes. This turns out to be a Mistake. Almost as soon as he lands the killing blow, Brainiac appears in the skies with a full warfleet and promptly steamrollers the now completely undefended Earth. The repentant Luthor steals some of his technology and heads back in time, releasing nanites capable of turning anyone into a superhuman powerhouse, with the idea that the Justice League can train them up to be an army to fight the incoming armada. Unfortunately, it works just as well on jerks, and his present-day self, along with Circe and the Joker, promptly set up their own mentoring system on the side of evil. As one of these newly-formed heroes, you get to not only choose who you want to be, but who you want to train you. Not much of a decision, really. Lex has incredible intelligence and the resources of a global conglomerate of evil. Joker has Harley Quinn’s cellphone number. Go Team Joker!

But how do you stand out next to the Clown Prince of Crime? Luckily, that’s pretty easy. DC Universe’s character creation unfortunately pales in comparison to both City of Heroes and Champions Online, but it’s excellent by most other MMO standards. The main restrictions are that your character only has a three-colour palette to share across all their gear, and a relatively restricted costume selection.

Unlike Cryptic’s MMOs, the idea is that you’ll find more costume pieces in the game itself, which I find pretty silly. That’s fine for the more iconic pieces, such as Harley’s jester cap, but when you’ve got to create your hero’s name and theme at the start, you want to make sure they live up to it immediately. Nobody wants to be Goingtobebatman or Green Punchintheface for 16 levels.

Most of the bases are covered though, with everything from a big top hat to a choice of hairstyles and Power Girl inspired spandex complete with boob-window, so you should be able to create at least roughly what you want. (Expect to see a lot of Spawn rip-offs, thanks to his mask having somehow slipped into the selection.) If you can’t be bothered to create a full character, you can also choose to be ‘inspired’ by one of DC’s signature heroes, which is the DC Universe Online equivalent of asking your parents for a Batman costume, only to get a logo cut out of a cardboard box and a cape made out of bin-liners.

Oh, goodie. Now Batman’s really going to want to kick my arse.

But what to make, what to make? I could have gone for an eye-poppingly colourful outfit, but nobody does that better than Mister J. Instead, I created a gunslinger forged from shades of grey, just like the world she’s about to enter. Her name: Monocrime. Prepare to fear her.

She’s a Tech themed superhero, with Acrobatic travel powers. This means she gets to fight with toys like Joker and Batman, as well as clamber up buildings like Spider-Man and glide effortlessly across the city with nothing more than a flappy trenchcoat to catch the breeze. Later upgrades allow for rocket travel and grapple lines, although I haven’t gotten them yet. You can also opt for Flight or Super Speed, but I burned out on those during Champions/City of Heroes. Athletics sounds crap, but is fun.

Monocrime. Does in fact plan to commit more than one crime. Stop asking.

Everyone gets the same training mission, set aboard Braniac’s ship. It’s… pretty dull, really. On the plus side, it’s very easy, very short, and gives you plenty of time to play with your new combat moves.

DC Universe feels a million times more kinetic than most MMOs – more like a (very, very stat-driven) God of War than the usual click-to-auto-attack style. With melee attacks, you flip from goon to goon in huge flashing arcs of pain. With guns, you unload from a distance or do pistol-whips up close, pulling off John Woo style moves like leaping backwards while firing by punching in simple combos. Opted for Stealth? You can assassinate people, or lay down mines. Went with Tech? Expect toys like Sentry Turrets.

Much like City of Heroes, the most notable thing about the combat is that it lets you feel like a badass right from the start, taking down rooms full of robots and fighting alongside Lex Luthor in a mission to save the planet from Braniac’s first world-conquering attack wave.

Well, that was easy. Turns out the Justice League are a bunch of wusses.

The main problem I had with the combat – and it’s a limited one – is that the controls and feel of the game was clearly designed around everyone playing it with a controller… but DC Universe Online refused to detect my 360 pad. The setup program did. The actual game didn’t. Not everyone is having trouble with this, according to the official forums, but if you are, there’s no confirmed fix yet. Boo.

Playing with a mouse and keyboard is doable, but feels distinctly wrong – much floatier than it’s obviously meant to be, with mouse-clicks just not having the same oomph as buttons. Using grown-up game controls also turns the interface from okay, for a system without a guaranteed mouse and keyboard, into something much more horrible, with a useless chat interface, a lack of things like tooltips, and constant menus and shortcuts when you just want to click and type and actually do stuff. But no matter…

Up above the streets and the houses, Batsignal flying high…

After killing roughly a billion robots and helping Lex take out the ship’s main weapon, I was immediately dispatched to Gotham to start my life of crime. Again, it’s tough not to compare the city to City of Heroes/Champions Online. Mostly, it’s good news. Gotham definitely feels like Gotham, complete with Batsignal up in the the clouds, with the only real missed opportunity being that the streets feel deserted. There are villains and cops, but not much in the way of civilians to terrify – at least not in this opening area.

There is however plenty of lore, mostly told via promotional booths where Booster Gold gives you a self-aggrandising tour of the city, and standalone information points that tell you that, say, a particular burger bar is owned by LexCorp, or that so-and-so is a member of the Falcone crime syndicate. All of this is optional, although it does give XP, but an excellent touch, whether you’re a fan of the lore or have no idea what you’re meant to be looking at. The only finger-wagging disappointment is the shameless pinching of the Rikti War Walls from City of Heroes in the form of Braniac bottle-fields all over the place. Still, overall, it’s a good Gotham, with excellent Batman atmosphere and all the trimmings. Time to crush it!

DISCLAIMER: At Level 1, crushing may not in fact ensue.

Villains are based out of nightclubs, because modern music is evil, where everyone from Two-Face to Catwoman just stands around next to a teleporter to the Hall of Doom. I immediately rushed to the Auction House to try and sell Batman’s secret identity on the black market, but couldn’t find the option. Instead, I was informed that I’d have to get money the old-fashioned way – supervillainy. Joker immediately sets up some quests involving beating up policemen and stealing their guns, with the goal of starting a gang war to ‘entertain’ Batman. And knowing Joker, spreading some deadly laughing gas for kicks.

Oddly, nobody seems particularly bothered about the alien invader currently invading the city, as the cops are still chasing Level 1 thugs, guys on the docks are still shunting drugs around, and the nightclub dance floor is packed. I suppose that when you live in Gotham, you resign yourself to a horrible death.

All of the quests are fully voiced, from the mission briefings (often by the DCAU cast, including Mark Hamill) to random comments from enemies. There are a lot of them. One early mission for instance has you bribing rookie cops, who have several different barks depending whether or not they take the money or tell you where to stick it. In terms of objectives, they’re pretty bland so far, but the simple fact that they’re coming from the Joker himself gives them a certain kick. Hamill plays him with his usual delicious relish, with extra input coming from a shadowy figure called Calculator, who I’ve never heard of but I’m told is a villain whose superpower is having a magic calculator. No wonder he stays behind the scenes, even if he was later given an anti-heroism force-field to protect him from harm/nasty people being really mean.

(Note to Calculator fans: I’m sure his magic calculator is lovely, and he has a deep backstory in a hundred different comics, but I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, even admitting to owning a magic calculator earns you the same respect level as the dreaded Skidmark Streaker or The Phantom Baker.)

Long arm of the law? Pah! My reach is much longer…

Combat isn’t a patch on a dedicated beat-em-up like God of War or Bayonetta, but it’s pretty damn good for an MMO. You’re always doing stuff, whether it’s spotting an incoming super attack like a Riot Cop’s chemical spray or blocking attacks before striking back, and your special moves are much more entertaining than simply hitting someone in the face only harder. In my case, I had a taser wire that would yoink enemies right over to me and stun them at the same time, and the ability to go into stealth mode, lay mines, or assassinate from the shadows. There are several talent trees, and pretty much any combat type you could want – the only real absences being full-on superstrength and a Green Lantern ring. The first is covered a bit by martial arts and brawling. The second, I expect to see sometime around the release of the movie. After a few levels, you can also buy Iconic Powers, such as Batarangs and Superman eye-beams. This seems a bit silly, really. Why would Batman let some rookie have access to his stuff?

(On a similar subject, I have a bone to pick with the Iconic Armour sets that you’re meant to aspire to. The idea is that by doing raids and PVP, you can unlock pieces of super-armour based on signature heroes, depending on your role. All but two are based on male signature heroes, with Wonder Woman’s set looking more like something Hawkman would put his stamp on, and Circe’s apparently chosen at random. The game has suits based on Metallo and Steel and even Robin, but no stealth-camo from Catwoman or similar? Rubbish! Hopefully later tiers will be a bit more even handed. If nothing else, a hulking Zatanna combat suit complete with armoured top-hat and riveted-fishnets would be hilarious.)

As far as game-modes go, there’s a PvE server and a PvP server, and I suspect that the PvP server will actually be more fun, if the ganking isn’t too horrific, as well as stretch the game’s playing time out a bit longer. It caps out at Level 30, and with only two cities to play in so far (along with instanced content from elsewhere, like a dungeon based in Gotham’s sister city Bludhaven, and a raid in Arkham Asylum), I suspect it’s going to run out of content pretty damn quickly. It definitely feels like a game that would have been better off as an F2P action game, not – unless this is really impressive – a £10 a month MMO.

But it is the only one where Harley Quinn will offer to give you her body for the night.

That sound you just heard was a planetwide nerd orgasm.

Okay, so it’s not as dodgy as it sounds. There are a couple of different PvP modes in DC Universe Online, but the coolest of them (at least at the start of the game, when your own character is obviously rubbish) is Legends, where you get to download a copy of some signature heroes and fight with them, complete with all their elite powers. Harley is the first you unlock when working with the Joker, as well as a fanboy favourite, so jumping into a match inevitably meant teaming up with three other psychotic jesters to fight a team of much more boring Robin clones. Further proof that evil is Best. The action is very chaotic, not helped by the fact that without a mouse cursor and tooltips, it’s tough to know what all your individual attacks actually do, and a bit fast and flailing, but it’s a cool addition and a great taster.

The mission I joined took place in Arkham Asylum, and involved controlling assorted points on the map, apparently to release villains, although mostly it just seemed to be Harleys stamping around with giant bombs, hammers and trick gloves. The chat interface is lousy, and nobody seemed in the mood to talk anyway. Still, just following someone else and helping them beat up a couple of Robins did the trick, at least until they turned round and kicked our Harley Army right in the bells. Bah!

And THAT’S for Batman and Robin!

Back in Gotham, Joker’s attempts to start a mob war continued with an all-out brawl between mobsters and the police, with my job being to rearm the mob and take out cops. It’s 15 of one objective and 25 of another, but since you’re in the middle of a brawl, it takes no time at all, and is actually pretty fun. Dual-guns blazing, I took out half the GCPD, before being sent on the most dreaded assignment of all…

…going into a warehouse.

Sorry, but ever since City of Heroes, I’ve developed a fear of warehouses in MMOs. There are only so many times you can fight through them, shooting generic goons, before you want to rip your hair out in chunks and make the designers eat them. Luckily, this warehouse was a bit more interesting. By the end of the first area, Catwoman had shown up to lend a helping paw, which led into a couple of set-pieces, including a police ambush, and a full-boss fight with Huntress, one of Batman’s more violent allies.

Here’s another part where DC Universe deviates from most MMOs. Typically, early boss fights are simply a standard monster with slightly higher stats and a name over their heads. Huntress offers a multi-phase boss battle, showing up with a cut-scene, and then forcing you to work alongside Catwoman to take her down. Initially, she comes at you with a staff. Later, police rappel down from the ceiling to distract you. She deploys exploding crossbow bolts that you have to dive out of the way of, hiding behind destructible scenery or convenient walls. She goes invisible, forcing you to stick close to Catwoman and try and score a couple of hits before she disappears back into the shadows for another strike.

Huntress isn’t difficult to kill, but it definitely feels like you’re going up against a proper superhero in a battle that’s genuinely worth your time. Throughout, the two ladies have a bit of custom banter to add life to the encounter, and as a bonus, when you finally kill- sorry, ‘knock her out’ – you’re treated to a short animated comic explaining a bit more about who she is. It seems a little odd to have a big dramatic sequence about how badass and determined she is when she’s lying defeated at your feet in a pool of agonising broken-ribbed pain, but it’s a cool addition and a great reward. Hopefully the later bosses will be as good.

I DIDN’T THINK THIS THROOOOOOOOOOOOUGH!

Aside from the comic sequence, the rewards for beating Huntress were pretty standard. A couple of new costume pieces. Some money. A big chunk of experience. Catwoman invited me to go see her back at the evil nightclub, assuming The World’s Greatest Detective hadn’t worked out that every major villain in his Rogues Gallery was standing around in the same place, along with a teleporter straight into the Hall of Doom. Luckily, he hadn’t, and the next quest arc started up, involving Bane and the drug Venom.

But by this point it was 2AM, and while Evil may not sleep, Evil In Training needed forty winks. I hit the main menu to log off, before remembering a message I’d been sent after defeating Huntress, from a character called Ambush Bug. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but talked about one-time access to something called The Vault, where I’d be able to score lots more loot and cash. He even warned me to clear out my inventory slots. How could I log out before at least finding out what he was talking about, especially if there was a chance he’d be more generous than that Azerothian skinflint Greatfather Winter…

So I used the ticket. Then this happened…

What… the… fu-

Seriously, where does he find the time to make all this stuff? Clearly, I have much to learn from the master, and while I doubt I’ll still be playing come the first monthly subscription bill, I am looking forward to seeing what other craziness is out there, in Gotham, Metropolis, and – Batman permitting – beyond.

Full review coming soon. Until then: MWAH-HA, and indeed, HA. Hail Joker.

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Go to Source (PC Gamer)

Shippin’ Out January 9-15: DC Universe Online

Posted on January 09, 2011

SOE and Warner Bros. superhero-infused MMORPG takes to the streets alongside Kingdom Hearts II: Re:coded, Prinny 2, and Ghost Trick.

Around this time last year, the gaming industry saw a glut of big-budget titles that missed–or dodged–the holiday release window, including the likes of Darksiders, Bayonetta, and Army of Two: The 40th Day. This year is shaping up to be a bit less front-loaded, though it does still have a few potential hits arriving during the second full week of 2011.

Perhaps the biggest launch this week is DC Universe Online from Sony Online Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The PC and PlayStation 3 game lets players create their crime fighter or villain, and because it is set in the DC Universe, such locales include Superman’s Metropolis and Batman’s Gotham City. Also, a range of heroes and villains from the comic book publisher’s immense stable will lend their presence to the game. The game will also benefit from heralded comic artist Jim Lee and scribe Marv Wolfman, who are contributing to the project.

Handheld gamers have a number of options this week. On the DS, fans of the Disney-Square Enix crossover series Kingdom Hearts can pick up Re:coded, which follows a digitized version of Sora. Fans of Capcom’s Ace Attorney series may be interested in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, an investigative adventure game from Shu Takumi.

As for the PSP offerings, NIS America returns with its infernal penguin brigade in Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!. A spin-off of the Disgaea franchise, Prinny is an action platformer that the developer billed as the most “challenging side-scrolling action game ever.” Its predecessor follows in those footsteps, taking place after the original and telling the story of Netherworld overlord Etna’s missing panties.

For further details on the week’s games, visit GameSpot’s New Releases page. The full list of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Wii Shop Channel will be revealed later this week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and are subject to change.

JANUARY 11

101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix–WII–Atlus Co.

DC Universe Online–PS3, PC–Sony Online Entertainment

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective–DS–Capcom

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded–DS–Square Enix

Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!–PSP–NIS America

JANUARY 12

SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny–PC–JoWooD Entertainment

Zeit 2–X360–Ubisoft


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Shippin’ Out January 9-15: DC Universe Online” was posted by Tom Magrino on Sun, 09 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0800

DC Universe Online Beta Available Soon

Posted on December 09, 2010

Sony has revealed that a beta of DC Universe Online will be showing up on PS3 soon, but only for a select group of crime fighters.

Those crime fighters are gamers who have subscribed to Sony’s PlayStation Plus service. The exact release date for the beta has not been revealed, but will be posted at PlayStation Blog. If you want to know what to expect, be sure to check out the Five Things Adam learned while playing the beta earlier this month. Spoiler: One of them is that being a super hero is fun!

[Via Playstation.Blog]

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Go to Source (Game Informer)

New DC Universe Online video and screens show Batman taking on Joker

Posted on November 26, 2010

The latest screens for DC Universe Online show the Dark Knight battling it out with the Joker in the Batcave. There’s also a spooky fly through video of Gotham City, showing of many recognisable landmarks like Arkham Asylum, Crime Alley and the Joker’s favourite deserted fairground, Amusement Mile. You’ll find all of the new images and the video embedded below.
We were pretty excited by DC Universe Online’s showing at E3 this year. The superhero MMO’s physics driven environments and roster of much loved superheroes makes DC Universe Online a promising prospect. For more information, check out the DC Universe Online site. Scroll down to the bottom to find the Gotham fly through video. The game’s out early next year.

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DC Universe Online Screens Takes Us To Strange Places

Posted on November 13, 2010

Wouldn’t it be great if you could click on this link and check out a new batch of DC Universe Online screens featuring new locations such as Gorilla Island, Gotham Botanical Gardens, Brainiac’s ship, and Poison Ivy’s Lair? Yeah, that would be something.

Oh my gosh! There are a bunch of DC Universe Online screens here. Crazy.

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DC Universe Online Gives Robin a Voice: Wil Wheaton!

Posted on October 25, 2010

As if DC Universe Online‘s voice cast wasn’t cool enough already, Wesley Crusher is going to be playing the Boy Wonder.

View Article (The Escapist – EscapistMagazine.com)

Trailers: DC Universe Online Comic Con Trailer

Posted on October 11, 2010

DC Universe Online reveals new player-created villian footage at New York Comic Con.

Go to Source (The Escapist – EscapistMagazine.com)

DC Universe Online Delayed Until 'Early' 2011; New Beta Details Revealed

Posted on October 04, 2010

Turn in your cape and cowl, ladies and gentlemen, DC Universe Online will not be saving the day in 2010, as planned.

In a press release, Sony Online Entertainment revealed that the upcoming PC and PS3-based online title originally scheduled to launch in November has now been pushed to “early 2011.” According to a statement made by SOE president John Smedley in the release, the extra time will allow the development team behind DC Universe Online to “address community feedback” from external testing in a “meaningful way.” Smedley states that when the team gets deeper into the external testing process, S…
Go to Source (ShackNews)

DC Universe Online delayed until spring 2011

Posted on October 04, 2010

Sony Online Entertainment announced a delay of DC Universe Online, from its announced November 2 release date until “early 2011.” Or, in comic book terms, SOE rebooted the universe, creating a reality where the game was always going to be released in early 2011. “As the game heads into external beta testing, this extra time will allow us to address community feedback in a meaningful way,” SOE president John Smedley said. “When we get deeper into external beta, we’ll be able to share more information regarding the new launch date.”

There’s sort of good news if you still want to spend your November (or at least part of it) playing DCUO. If you’ve already pre-ordered, or if you do so before November 15, you’ll be “assured access to the beta by November 30 (North America only).” If you miss that deadline, you’ll get access a week before launch, and you’ll get to take part in the “Battle of the Legends” event at the end of beta, along with the other people who will have had months to get way, way better than you.

Continue reading DC Universe Online delayed until spring 2011

JoystiqDC Universe Online delayed until spring 2011 originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 04 Oct 2010 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DC Universe Online Updated Hands-On

Posted on September 09, 2010

We spend some quality time in Metropolis and face off against DC’s villainous ape, Gorilla Grodd.

We’ve spent a fair amount of time with Sony Online Entertainment’s upcoming DC Universe Online at various events since it was announced in July 2008. The massively multiplayer online game has typically showed off well, although it’s yet to make good on its promise to let players live the life of a budding superhero or villain in the DC Comics world. On a recent visit to SOE’s Austin studio, we had the chance play a meaty chunk of the game’s opening levels, which included a face-off against Gorilla Grodd. The biggest question weighing on our mind during this most recent demo was whether the game would finally deliver on the promise hinted at since its debut.

[ Watch Video ]

Leading developers share their thoughts on the future of social gaming.

Our demo began after the same kick off cinematic that debuted at this year’s Comic-Con, followed by the character creation interface. The development team is still fine-tuning the latter to ensure that it is both accessible and faithful to the story setup. The team also briefed us on what we didn’t see, which revealed more of the game’s story. The Lex Luthor from the future did something at the end of the intro cinematic that caused a wave to ripple out across the world–the explanation we received was that Future Lex brought a valuable prize back with him when he escaped Brainiac, namely all the superpowers the latter had absorbed from the world. At the time of Future Lex’s escape there were almost no heroes left, meaning Brainiac had absorbed just about every power there was to grab. Future Lex’s theft was an attempt to empower the citizens of the past to not only fight back against Brainiac, but also to help the DC Universe heroes in the battle to drive him away.

The wave seen at the end of the intro cinematic is in fact the aforementioned superpowers spreading across the world, homing in on the population and powering them up, which is where the character creation comes in. You play as a recently-juiced civilian who has to escape Brainiac’s ship and make some important choices regarding the future–will you fight on the side of good or evil? What will your superpowers be? We’ve touched on the way you’ll be able to map out your powers and how they’ll break down into different types before, but an interesting new feature is how you’ll specialize. Our time with the game cast us as a hero, which meant Superman served as our initial guide. However, once you get a bit further in you’ll actually choose an allegiance to different heroes: for example, tech-based heroes will follow Batman; magic-based heroes will follow Wonder Woman; and so on. These choices will affect how your character develops. Your choice of good or evil also determines which city you’ll start in, while the heroes you’ll follow will yield unique leveling opportunities and some story variations that will offer plenty of options to explore as you progress.

Our hands-on demo began in Metropolis in the Little Bohemia police station, where we got a quick tour of some important locales. Despite its action focus, DC Universe Online is still very much a role-playing game. During our demo, we had a good look at the shops that will allow you to buy and sell gear. The mechanics seem pretty standard: you get loot, sell it, or use it to buy new gear. Once we sorted our gear out, we left the police station to look around the city. One of the first things that caught our attention was an icon for racing challenges–we immediately tried this out. These challenges are good primers to get you up to speed using your character’s mobility modes. To participate, you have to run through a series of markers set along the city. It’s simple, but the game rewards you with a rating on your performance, so it’s likely you’ll be working overtime to earn the highest rank. Besides a feeling of accomplishment, you’ll also earn some cash for your dedication.

After poking around the city and indulging in a race, we had the chance to start a quest chain that paid particular attention to the city’s simian problem. As is usually the case with super-powered simian monarchs who hate mankind, Gorilla Grodd is on a tear and the city is in peril. To make matters worse, The Flash has gone missing. What’s an aspiring hero to do? If you answered “Stomp every ape you find and look for clues!” then you’re on the mark. The first chunk of the quest was very focused on stomping a modest quota of ape soldiers causing trouble at a nearby pier. We were then offered a side quest by another character on the scene; switching between the quests was simple and worth the minor detour for the sweet loot we got for our troubles. In terms of ape-stomping we had a good amount of options: first and foremost, our own abilities. At the start of the game you only have a single power and slowly gain more as you earn experience–standard stuff. You have three branches to your powers and abilities, tied to the type of weapon you choose, the power you choose and the movement mode you choose. Your weapons are tied to your melee attacks, which can be specialized along different branches.

Interestingly, your powers break down into three different power pools, two of which are specific to your character, and one that’s drawn from a pool of powers that all players can choose from. The communal powers are exactly what you’d expect, letting you pick from classic DC abilities such as Superman’s heat vision and Green Lantern’s power ring. The different variations of powers and how you can combine them lend themselves to specific play styles. The game also allows you to set up different ability load outs so you to keep your role fluid in combat, which key for group play. Choosing powers and skills will be tied to leveling up and the points you earn. The game also ties your ability to choose powers and skills to skill points and power points that you earn upon leveling–during our demo we found we could earn one set of points at alternating levels which kept progression even. We also found that with our fire-based character, we had the option to choose very specific offensive abilities from the start, such as a direct fire blast. However, as you upgrade this ability you begin to set foes on fire, which is a perfect lead-in to a more passive ability that simply causes an explosive damage boost to enemies on fire. In addition to our natural talents, we also had the option of picking objects up and hurling them at our enemies. The presence of explosive barrels made this an especially fun thing to try.

As we completed the mission with critical and optional quests in the chain, we moved deeper into the city and dealt with a new challenge: citizens being converted to apes by machines peppered throughout the city. This complicated the ape-stomping, as our targets became hapless people in need of rescuing. The chain featured three key components to rescuing: destroying the ape-creating machines, smacking the citizens in ape form senseless, and turning them back into humans.

Once we had worked our way through a few more quests, we finally arrived at Grodd’s secret lair. While our main mission was to take out Grodd, finding The Flash was also important. The lair offered a change of pace from the outdoor ape-stomping and had us working our way through an underground facility. When we finally found The Flash, we were able to free him and have him team up with us to take on Grodd. The battle offered the first real challenge of the early quests: in addition to his size and strength, Grodd’s telepathic abilities allowed him to perform psychic attacks that had to be avoided by hopping around the room. The Flash was on hand to help but, ultimately, we had to do the heavy lifting when it came to taking out the troublesome ape. One of the especially nice touches to the battle was a comic-inspired cinematic that filled us in on Grodd’s history. These short but informative cinematics will happen throughout the game, allowing DC Universe Online to educate the masses on the backgrounds of some of the lesser-known heroes and villains.

The work-in-progress version of the game that we tried on the PC handled nicely, even when using a PlayStation 3 controller. The game is definitely made with console play in mind and has a smart control scheme to keep it accessible. Although the development team is obsessing over the game’s menus and interface, we were pretty pleased with what we saw. Taking on quests, forming a party, spending our points, switching weapons, and changing gear were all easy to do thanks to an intuitive cluster of menus that are laid out logically. Although the team is still doing some tweaking, we have to say the direction they’re going in works nicely.

DC Universe Online’s visuals are still looking good and do a fine job of laying out the massive playground SOE is creating for players. The PC game is done well and looks very sharp. Now that the game is in the home stretch to its November release, we can see the final layers of polish being added to good effect. While the PS3 version of the game isn’t an exact match for the PC visuals, it’s still looking very good. Metropolis looks like Metropolis, right down to a respectable amount of bustling citizens. In addition, inquisitive players should find a pleasant amount of items to collect and clues to investigate peppered through the city both at street level and higher.

Based on this deeper look at the game, we have to stay that after two years of waiting, we’re probably even more anxious for DC Universe Online than we were a year ago. The chance to get a look at the deeper elements of gameplay, that have only been laid out for us in abstract terms previously, has left us eager to dive in. The game really does appear to be on its way to delivering what was promised when it was announced. The cities, quests, cameos, and all the little nods to DC lore all appear to be coming together nicely. As with most of the fans following the game, we’re anxious to get our cape on and tear into the public beta which is due in the coming months.

Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot


DC Universe Online Updated Hands-On” was posted by Ricardo Torres on Wed, 08 Sep 2010 22:37:50 -0700


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